Issue No. 2 – October 1, 2010

The second issue of Global Graffiti is devoted to detective fiction and noir.  Though interest in “mystery” literature and film has remained consistently strong over time, it seems that lately this genre has garnered an exceptional amount of popular and critical buzz.  This summer, for instance, the big mystery bestseller was Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium trilogy.”  Just as David Sharp notes about the contemporary Italian giallo in his essay on Simone Sarasso’s Confine di stato, Larsson’s novels allow the author to move beyond a juicy mystery toward commentary on social and political issues of the day.  (See Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times article on the connection between Larsson’s novels and current attention to sex trafficking in the United States.)  Scholarly attention to this popular genre (along with others like science fiction) has also continued to grow, as evidenced by the critical articles included in this issue of GG.  Here’s the line-up:

We are especially excited to feature an excerpt of Erik Raschke’s new novel, The Death of Fiction.  In this piece, we meet Detectives Francisco Alcantara and Lionel Matos as they investigate a particularly bloody murder in New York’s Washington Heights.  Detective Alcantara, an aspiring writer who possesses an especially acute sense of smell, muses on the murder of Mr. Bobbins (a writer and English teacher who wears clown make-up to class) and the literary world, as well as questions of race and gentrification.

In “Untraditionally Traditional,” David Sharp analyzes Simone Sarasso’s 2007 crime fiction novel.  David argues that Confine di stato, which incorporates the tropes of the traditional giallo and film noir, uses the mystery genre to tackle difficult events in Italian history, especially those occurring during the Anni di piombo.

Leah Anderst’s essay explores the reasons for the failure of the film noir Lady in the Lake. Leah looks at the “subjective” camera used in the 1947 film and how it fails to induce a sense of identification or “recognition” in the viewer.

George Fragopoulos also takes on film noir in his piece entitled “Kubrick’s Noir Men: An Essay on Ontology.” George focuses on issues of masculinity as embodied by the “Noir Men” in Stanley Kubrick’s films Killer’s Kiss (1954)  and The Killing (1956).

Finally, we have Lauren Villa’s engaging discussion of noir with Los Angeles-based poet Suzanne Lummis along with a noir poem by Amy Schulz, one of Lummis’s students.

We hope that you enjoy these pieces.  Please leave comments and/or contact us by e-mail at with suggestions.  We look forward to seeing you back on the site in February 2011 for Issue #3, which will be dedicated to the subject of Migration.


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